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7 Traits of a Highly Successful Physician Liaison. This is What it Takes.

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer
Lori Waltz

Lori Waltz

by Lori Waltz

The role of a Physician Liaison has emerged as a vital marketing position for many specialty practices. Although providers and practice decision-makers understand the concept and value of working with a representative, they don’t always know which skill sets are most important to success when hiring.

I work with clients throughout the nation in establishing Physician Liaison programs for doctors and hospitals, including hiring and training the right people to represent them. (In fact, we’re working on filling several posts right now.) It might help you to know what our experience has proven to be needed for success in the job.

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Although the title might vary—Physician Liaison, Physician Relations, Practice Representative—the primary role is new business development. What you DO NOT want to do is to expect that your marketing communications person or graphic artist can do double duty. That's a classic mistake; the requirements that make for success as a Physician Liaison are completely different.

Specific tasks and responsibilities will vary, but here are seven of the most important traits to look for when hiring a Physician Liaison:

  • Extremely motivated…a self-starter: Much of the work is independent of a traditional office environment. Motivated individuals challenge themselves to understand what’s expected, why it’s important, and to get the job done, largely on their own.
  • Excellent communications skills: Both verbal and written skills are needed to be effective in presenting the message and getting feedback—from one-to-one conversations to group presentations in front of healthcare organizations or medical teams.
  • Experience or education in a specialty: This role is a bridge between medical practices and between doctors. Although a Physician Liaison isn’t a clinician, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the specialty they represent. They are an extension of the doctor while cultivating relationships.
  • A relationship-builder: The goal of a medical representative is not to “make one sale,” but to establish, cultivate and maintain a rapport and an ongoing channel for professional referrals.
  • Professional appearance: This one is self-explanatory. How they appear—in wardrobe, personal conduct, etc.—is a reflection on the practice they represent.
  • Friendly and personable: No surprise here either. People like to do business with people they like.
  • Highly organized: Many facilities use customer relationship software to help track a million related data points, follow-up activities and events. Even with digital help, it is a detail-driven job.

Of course, there are additional criteria, but as an overarching requirement, a Physician Liaison must truly understand the importance of professional referrals to specialty practices. In many situations, referrals are the essential lifeblood of the business.

For more on this topic, read: Hiring a Healthcare Practice or Organization Rep.

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